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In The World: Mapping the Logistics of Megacities

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Screenshot from the open-access website km2.

An example of the data now available on the open-access website called km2, produced by the MIT Megacities Logistics Lab. This map shows deliveries to different types of stores (color coded by type) in the city of Kuala Lumpur.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have collected logistics data on representative neighborhoods in Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Kuala Lumpur, and Madrid, and made that data available online in an open-access pool of information that is graphically represented on city maps.

The project arose from the realization that "some of the things we take for granted don't exist" in many rapidly growing cities in the developing world, says MIT's Edgar Blanco. The project involved developing a Web platform to collect, organize, and display the data in real time. "We not only have to design better logistics systems in the cities, we need cities that are designed better for logistics," Blanco says. For example, the data gathered by the MIT researchers could help city planners decide whether to ban or encourage certain vehicles from particular areas, or to allow large trucks only at certain times.

Blanco notes that as the database grows, it will be easier for planners to find cities with comparable population density, business, and transportation links.

From MIT News
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